13 October 2011

 In the spirit of Halloween, I figured I’d share an excerpt from Eve—the scariest book I’ve written yet. It’s set in 2041, sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of America’s population. The world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has spent most of her life inside a walled-in compound and has been taught to fear men. After discovering the fate that awaits her after graduation, she flees into the wild. This excerpt takes place as Eve is exploring the world beyond the wall for the first time. It’s a lush, overgrown paradise, with hidden dangers at every turn…


 I followed the bird’s path, watching it disappear in the distance. Then my gaze fell on the silhouettes coming toward the road, over the hillside and through the trees. Even from two hundred feet away, I could see the guns slung over their backs.
For a moment I stood in awe of these strange and unfamiliar creatures. They were so much taller and broader than women. Even their gait was different, heavier, as though it required great effort to take even one step. They all wore pants and boots and some were shirtless, revealing their leathery brown chests.
The figures moved as a pack, until one brought up his gun and aimed for the deer grazing near the gas pumps. With one blast it fell, its legs seizing in pain. Only then did the panic set in. I was in the middle of the wild, in unforgiving daylight. A gang was just thirty yards off. I fumbled with the door of the shack, clawing at the ivy until I found the rusty old lock.
The gang came closer. I kept at the lock, pulling and hitting it with my palm, hoping it would break. Please open, I begged, please. I glanced around the corner of the shack and saw the men beneath the gas station awning. They huddled around the deer. One hacked at the animal, cutting its coat away like a person skinning fruit. It bucked and twisted. It was still alive.
            The lock finally gave and I fell forward into darkness. I pulled my knapsack inside and shut the door, pushing further down a narrow corridor that emptied out into a larger room. The dirt-caked windows were snaked with vines, making it impossible to see. I felt my way in and realized at once that it wasn’t a shack, but a long house that expanded into the side of the hill, half buried by the grass. I kept going, feeling my way further into the room. The walls were rough and mottled, as though they were made of stones.
            The strange voices came closer. “Come on Raff, just throw the hide in the bag and let’s get off.”
            “Shove it, you filthy crumb,” another shot back. Their voices were deep and gruff. They didn’t speak in the same careful English we’d learned in School.
            I had sat in my Dangers of Boys and Men class for an entire year, learning all the ways women were vulnerable to the other sex. First was the Manipulation and Heartache unit. We did a close reading of Romeo and Juliet, studying the way Romeo seduced Juliet and ultimately led to her death. Teacher Mildred gave a lecture about a relationship she had before the plague and the highs that so quickly evolved into desperate, anger-fueled lows. She cried as she described how her “love” had left her after she gave birth to their first child, a little girl who later died in the plague. He’d claimed something called “confusion”. During the unit on Domestic Enslavement, we saw old print ads of women in aprons. But the lesson on Gang Mentality was the most terrifying of all.
            Teacher Agnes showed us secret images taken by security cameras perched on the wall. They were blurry, but there were three figures—three men. They cornered another, stole the supplies at his belt, and executed him with a shotgun. For weeks I woke up in the middle of the night, my skin slick with sweat. I kept seeing that white blast and the man’s limp body splayed out on the ground, his legs twisted.
            “You didn’t need another one, you kill-happy Buggum!” another voice yelled. I backed further into the house, pressing up against a rough, unstable wall. The air was hot and thick with the scent of mold and something sharper, something chemical. I pulled my shirt over my face, trying to muffle my breath as the men stomped past.
            They were close now. I could hear them, each step cracking fallen branches with vicious snaps and pops. Someone stopped outside the shack. His breaths were raspy and choked with phlegm. “Whatcha gots there?” Another one called. His voice was further off, higher. Maybe on the road.
            I held onto the stone walls, trying to steady myself as I closed my eyes. Go away, please, please, I thought.
            “Lock’s broken! Go on ahead, gonna take a looky here.”
            I pushed back as far as I could, wishing the cold stones would give way, that I could sink into them, disappear behind their pitted surface. There had been so many lessons on what was beyond the wall. Teacher Helene had held up the photographs of the woman who had half her face mauled off by a rabid dog. But they’d only ever suggested one thing if we found ourselves outside, in the wild. They hadn’t taught us survival skills. I couldn’t make a fire, couldn’t hunt, and I wouldn’t be able to fight this man off. Get back in, Teacher had said simply. Do whatever it takes to get back to School.
            The door swung open. I was ready for him to plow forward, to drag me, screaming, outside. But as light flooded the long shack, I no longer cared about the gang on the road or the images from class or the intentions of the man standing around the corner, just twenty feet away. For the sunlight revealed walls made not of rough stones, but of hundreds of skulls, the black, hollow eye cavities peering back at me. I covered my mouth to keep from screaming.
            “Just a morgue,” the man yelled. And then the door closed behind him, leaving me in the dark. I stayed there, shaking for hours, until I was certain the men were gone.

 Available NOW from HarperTeen!!

Synopsis: The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

Check out the book trailer for Eve:


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  1. i want this book :)
    email: cruz042 at csusm dot edu

  2. Nice! Haven't read this one! Have wayyyy too many books to read already!


  3. I can't wait to read Eve!


  4. Wonderful excerpt! Sounds like it has potential :)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  5. I have piddling myself to read this one!
    tlabunski ((**gamil))**

  6. My hubby read Eve and really enjoyed it. I haven't read it yet, but if he actually liked it, it must be good!


  7. WOW! What an interesting excerpt!! I'm adding this to my Goodreads!

    AmethystDaydreams at zoho dot com

  8. That excerpt was amazing. I can't wait to pick this book up and start reading it.

    candicerjames [at] gmail [dot] com

  9. Wow, that's an exciting excerpt! A girl not knowing any survival skills having to survive now in the wild? Awesome! I love dystopian novels so I still need to get this book!

    jadedlittlegirlx AT gmail DOT com

  10. Why have I not heard much on this one? Looks great!
    Thanks for the post

  11. Ohhhh sounds gooood!


  12. OOOH. Thanks for the excerpt. I've really been looking forward to this book :)


  13. I LOVED this book!


  14. Seriously, this book looks SO GOOD!! I have to get it soon... So excited!


  15. I have to read this! The excerpt was fantastic!


  16. Mary DeBorde
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

    Oh my gosh, Eve sounds like such an awesome book - it is definitely on my wish/want list!! :D

  17. I didn't imagine Eve was going to be a freaky, scary book, but that excerpt and Anna's little intro for it makes me see how wrong I was. I NEED to read this book as soon as possible now.


  18. The book sounds great! Thanks so much for the excerpt.

    bchild5 at aol dot com


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